Annual Conference for Middle Level Education

Philadelphia, PA • November 6–8, 2017

Symposium on Middle Level Teacher Education

This special ticketed event is an add-on option to your AMLE2017 registration.

Sunday, November 5, 2017
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA

You are cordially invited to attend the Symposium on Middle Level Teacher Education presented by the  Association for Middle Level Education in collaboration with the AMLE Professional Preparation Advisory Committee, the AMLE Research Advisory Committee, the National Association of Professors of Middle Level Education and the American Educational Research Association Middle Level Education Research SIG.

Excellent middle grades teacher preparation is critical to the success of education. Whether you are just starting a program for middle grades educators or are involved in an established program, AMLE's Symposium on Middle Level Teacher Education is for you!

Come share the latest information, trends, and best practices to enhance the quality of middle level teacher education!

Sunday, November 5, 2017
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA


The best professional development investment that you will make this year features

  • Sessions on developing and sustaining exemplary middle level teacher preparation programs.
  • Opportunities to network with other teacher educators.
  • Discussions about the future of middle level teacher preparation with colleagues from around the country.

This important symposium will ask compelling questions and address challenging statements and critical issues

  • How will middle level teacher preparation programs meet the ever-changing demands of the 21st century?
  • How will the teachers you prepare today improve education for young adolescents tomorrow?
  • Is your institution providing the specialized preparation needed by prospective and practicing middle level teachers?
  • How does your state assist colleges and schools of education in the national accreditation process?
  • Is your teacher preparation program nationally accredited?
  • How do you evaluate your middle level teacher candidates to ensure they will be knowledgeable and effective teachers?
  • How do you assess graduates of your middle level teacher preparation program?

Sunday, November 5, 2017
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA

Who should attend this symposium?

  • Faculty members of colleges and universities
  • Faculty members of undergraduate or graduate middle level teacher preparation programs
  • Administrators of colleges, schools, and departments of education
  • Policymakers
  • Members of state departments of education
  • Anyone who participates in the preparation of teachers of young adolescents
  • Individuals interested in transitioning from middle school teacher to teacher educator

The Symposium on Middle Level Teacher Preparation will foster a learning community that is actively engaged in expanding the knowledge base about teacher preparation at the middle level.

Sunday, November 5, 2017
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA


Sunday, November 5, 2017  
Opening Remarks, Welcome 8:15 a.m.–8:35 a.m.
Research Paper Sessions
8:45 a.m.–10:15 a.m.
Roundtable Discussions
10:25 a.m.–11:40 a.m.
Lunch (provided)
Journal Talk
11:45 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Signature Assignment Sessions 1:10 p.m.–2:35 p.m.
Closing Remarks, Announcements 2:40 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

Sunday, November 5, 2017
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA


Research Paper Sessions
8:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

How Did They Miss What I Just Modeled?: Improving Modeling of Effective Practice for Teacher Candidates
Dr. Hilary Dack
One method of teaching principles of effective curriculum, instruction, and assessment to middle grades candidates is modeling strategies that exemplify them. The power of instructor modeling is diminished when instructors do not ask candidates to deconstruct their instructional decision-making and connect those decisions to theory. Drawing upon findings from a recent study of how Carol Tomlinson structured a course on differentiated instruction for pre-service teachers, the presenter will offer concrete suggestions for improving candidate learning outcomes through modeling.

Middle Level Reflective Practioners: Listening to the Voices of our Pre-Service Teachers
Dr. Bobette Bouton
This presentation is designed to disseminate the information received from the "Pre-Service Teachers Preparedness through Reflection" study. The purpose of this on-going study is to collect reflection data on middle level pre-service teachers entering and exiting the Residency I field placement. The data collected will be used to make both academic and procedural changes where needed using the information that the participants provide.

It's Very Different Here: Candidates' Perspectives of PDS Implementation in Different Contexts
Stacie Pettit, Milisa Diane Harper
Participants will learn about teacher candidates' experiences at two contrasting Professional Development School (PDS) sites partnering with a university in the beginning stages of developing a PDS. We found themes about challenges, successes, and opportunities that exist in this cooperative teacher preparation model in different environments. The partnerships were also analyzed through the lens of the "Nine Essentials for Professional Development Schools."

Professed vs. Enacted Beliefs: Cases from a Practice-Based Middle-Level Teacher Certification Program
Daniel Levin, Alexander K. Chumbley
We report on middle-level math and science pre-service teachers (PSTs) taking two practice-based courses in the fall semester of their undergraduate senior year. These courses focus on responsive teaching: eliciting, attending, and responding to the substance of students' ideas and reasoning. We present three case studies of students in the program to address the question: "How do PSTs' beliefs about science teaching and learning interact with their developing responsive teaching practices?"

Comparing Self-Efficacy and Success in STEM and non-STEM Majors as Career Changer in Math and Science Classrooms
Lienne F. Medford, Mike P. Cook, Ph.D.
This session will describe a research project comparing the self-efficacy and value added of STEM and non-STEM career changer middle grades math and science teachers. Presenters will describe the context—an alternative licensure MAT program with students from a variety of STEM and non-STEM majors—and describe the surveys, interviews, and value added data used to analyze and compare teachers' experiences. Additionally, the presenters will discuss the impacts and implications of these findings.

Critical Self-Reflection: Language and Cultural Integration in Multilingual Schools
Katie Brooks, Brooke Kandel-Cisco
We examined how over 200 middle level (ML) teachers came to question their beliefs via structured critical self-reflection infused into graduate-level ESL curricula. The findings offer insight into the extent to which white middle class teachers were willing to question their socially constructed views of educating multilingual students and their patterns of reflection on student language and culture. We will share implications for preparing pre- and in-service ML educators.

Roundtable Discussions
10:25 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.

Using Collegiate Tutors in Today's Inner City Middle Schools
Tiffany Joy Phillips
This presentation will provide literature supporting the benefits of establishing a relationship between urban middle school and colleges.

Implications for Infusing Social and Emotional Learning in ML Teacher Candidate Programs
Dr. Mary Ann O'Neil
During early adolescence, social allegiances begin to shift and require young people to learn how to make decisions on complex relationships and difficult choices. Research indicates interest in Social Emotional Competencies as they relate to other curriculum and educational standards has grown. Can SEC be embedded throughout the curriculum without becoming an "add on"? Addressing SEC at the middle level has implications academically, emotionally, and socially. Are the future teachers prepared?

Preservice Teacher Preparation and STEM: An Integrated Teaching and Learning Project
Dr. Barbara Radcliffe, Dr. Deborah Paine, Dr. Robert W. Spires, Dr. Regina Suriel, Dr. Ellice Martin
The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics -Integrated Teaching and Learning (STEM-ITL) project provides an innovative STEM-based collaboration between middle and secondary education pre-service teachers, university faculty, and local middle schools in Georgia. This collaboration involves pre-service teachers and middle school students participating in a fully-integrated STEM teaching and learning experience that combines academic content areas and an international collaboration.

Elements That Strengthen Our Research Agenda
Dr. Richard P. Lipka, Dr. Kathleen Roney
Highlight elements that strengthen efforts with the 2016 MLER SIG Research Agenda. The notion of methodology and ownership of the research questions from practitioners in the field are critical to the success of the agenda. A culture of research and data literacy are benchmarks of colleges of education and essential to practitioners in our nations' classrooms. A 21st century research agenda must be concerned with translating results into operational vocabulary for policymakers.

Supporting Marginalized Youth: Investigating Current C & I Approaches from Middle Grades Research
Brianna Kennedy, Dr. Lisa Harrison, Dr. Kathleen M. Brinegar, Dr. Ellis Hurd
Cultural responsiveness is a means by which marginalized youth can be empowered to overcome ill-placed notions and gaps. Curriculum and instruction approaches are shared for cultural responsiveness. Mapped differences and convergences across studies identify conceptual gaps the field must address for common definitions and understandings. Approaches may offer researchers, educators, and marginalized youth direction in the work that is still needed as we continue into the 21st century.

Using Personalized Learning Plans to Lead Student Led Conferences in Middle School
James Nagle
As school districts move to proficiency based assessment, flexible pathways, and personalized learning, this qualitative study evaluates an effort by a middle school team to use personalized learning plans as a vehicle for critical self reflection at student led conferences. The authors share the data collected from students, teachers, and family/community members over a two year period in which students presented their learning through personalized learning plans at student led conferences.

Charter Schools: A Poll of Public Perceptions and Knowledge in PA
Sally Ann Richwine, Dr. Michael Carbone
Given the growth of Charter Schools and their significant challenge to traditional public education, we intend for the audience to critically analyze the results of our poll, and use the information to project and inform future policy decisions and how the public's understandings might impact future investment in public education as a public good.

Mindfulness in Teaching
Dr. Nancy Bell Ruppert
Mindfulness in teaching starts with each of us considering our own ability to be present and open. How we convey this to our colleagues and students has the potential to impact our own spirit as well as the culture of the group. Three colleagues participated in two online courses. This session looks at our collective learning individually and shares how we are using it in teaching preservice teachers.

Signature Assignment Sessions
1:10 p.m. – 2:35 p.m.

Authentic Connection of Theory to Practice: Integrated Pedagogy Courses to On-Site Clinical Experiences
Holly Henderson Pinter, Dr. Kim K. Winter, Dr. David Strahan
This session includes perspective and voices of faculty and teacher candidates working on-site with teachers and students in a 6-8 lab school setting. Faculty members will discuss the proactive planning of experiences for teacher candidates, while teacher candidates will share their experiences of being on site and interacting with middle grades students and WCU faculty simultaneously. During the session, participants may use to share comments and questions.

Managing Mental Health Issues in the Classroom
Dr. Debra Eckerman Pitton
This session will engage participants in an investigation of the Dreikurs and Adler model of Mistaken Goals to help identify and respond to mental health issues in the middle school classroom. Scenarios will be used to facilitate discussion and consider options for addressing difficult student behavior resulting from mental health issues.

Proficiency-Based Learning in a Middle Level Program
Dr. Jessica DeMink-Carthew
Join us to learn how our program is using a proficiency-based learning approach to support our students in developing proficiency in specific AMLE standards. To illustrate, we will share sample assignments that occur across our middle level program courses to move students toward proficiency in a particular standard.

Crafting a Web with Teacher Candidates for a Visual Representation of Community Contexts
Gayle Andrews, Matthew John Moulton
Teaching about issues that impact schools' communities may be considered a political act, but not more so than not teaching about them (Gorski and Swalwell, 2015). This session shares how one middle grades program works with their teacher candidates on developing a critical eye for the myriad connections that impact the lives of young adolescents. Participants will be presented with the origins of an assignment called a systems web and walked through the activity and concluding discussion.

Turning "Write" to Create Real-Life Connections
Karen Walker, Mary Baldassarre
Connecting your college students with the "right" real world audience is highly rewarding and beneficial for all. Find out about two assignments that have the "write" audience for their writing.

How Do I Know if I am Good At This?: Assessing Student Teaching Using "This We Believe" and AMLE Standards
Kim Mowery
How can we use "This We Believe" and the AMLE standards to help our student teachers evaluate their success? Join a discussion about combining the strengths of the Charlotte Danielson model with AMLE. Please come and discuss ways you evaluate your student teachers as they try to determine whether they are teaching well. What are the specific challenges with developing their abilities in this area? How has your program successfully managed them? What new things would you like to try in this area?

The Scar Story: Teaching the Personal Narrative Essay
Bryan Gillis
The scar story assignment engages participants in the same writing processes that teachers will use with their own students. Participants will learn how to create (and teach) a personal experience narrative that is based on the unique characteristics of each student. Strategies include how to: generate ideas, write for a specific purpose and audience, use dialogue to enhance characters, and engage and orient readers by establishing a context and point of view.

DTMY: Dragons Teach Middle Years An Undergraduate Residency Model for Teacher Preparation
Dr. Sarah Reynolds Ulrich, Dr. Mary Jo Grdina
Drexel University School of Education has introduced a new program for the preparation of middle level STEM teachers trained specifically for the urban classroom. The program is based on lessons learned from current Drexel's Dragons Teach and Philadelphia Teacher Residency programs. It recruits undergraduates not majoring in education. The program essential skills outcomes and accompanying rubrics were developed with input from principals and teachers in partnering middle schools.

Middle Level Advocacy Project
Dr. Jessica DeMink-Carthew
In this session, I will share a middle level advocacy project designed to support pre-service teachers in developing proficiency in advocacy skills (AMLE standard 5b). To illustrate, I will share resources associated with the project as well as example student products.

Middle Grades Teacher Candidates Craft their Vision Statements for Teaching
Amanda Wall
Our teacher candidates write a Vision for Teaching: goals for themselves as teachers and for their young adolescent learners. Readings from Lounsbury ("Put it in Writing") and Duffy ("Teaching and the Balancing of Round Stones") provide a rationale for writing a Vision. Trade books (e.g., Alphabet City; Round Trip) and discussions encourage new perspectives. The Vision Statement relates to AMLE 1, 3, and 5 concerning young adolescents, middle level philosophy, and their professional roles.

Preparing Middle Grades Teacher Candidates for edTPA Success
Jeanneine P. Jones, Dr. Hilary Dack, Joyce Brigman
edTPA, a summative performance assessment, is used in educator preparation programs in 38 states. UNC Charlotte's edTPA integration began 5 years ago and is part of our middle grades program. Candidates practice knowledge and skills as they progress through coursework with the edTPA product itself as the student teaching capstone project. Join us to discuss our faculty's journey and learn about their experiences, activities and advice on edTPA and preparing future middle level teachers!

Connecting Research and Advocacy: Professional Blog Writing for Pre-Service Teachers
Tricia M. Stokes
Come hear how pre-service teachers are connecting research with advocacy through writing and publishing professional blog posts. Student-driven research topics include Looping and Personalized Learning, Project-Based Learning and Teaming, Incorporating Mindfulness in Middle School, and Building Relationships in Advisory. We will explore how the learning is scaffolded to support student success in writing a high quality post for an authentic audience.

True Middle School Design: Putting This We Believe into Practice
Miguel Gomez, Kalyn M. Niehoff
This session is designed to help educators teach their students using the This We Believe framework for middle school education. Instead of having students read the This We Believe framework from cover to cover, this session will demonstrate how to present the information to students through a variety of assignments, culminating with a group project that ask students to produce their own middle school that reflects the values found within the This We Believe framework.

Middle Grades Case Study Analysis Project: Addressing AMLE Teacher Preparation Standard 3
Shawn Faulkner, Christopher Cook
This session highlights a signature assessment, Middle Grades Case Study Analysis Project, that can be used to address AMLE's Middle Grades Teacher Preparation Standard 3: Middle Level Philosophy and School Organization. The middle grades case study analysis project requires teacher candidates to identify the key characteristics of effective middle grades pedagogy and then analyze how their field placement addresses these characteristics.

Welcome to the Real World: Opening Preservice Teachers Eyes to the Reality of Teacher Evaluation
Dr. Cheryl R. Ellerbrock
Teacher evaluation is often handled differently at the university than at the district. Striving to prepare our PSTs in ways that align with AMLE teacher preparation standards along with what is expected of them in the field, this session highlights the use of a district-wide teacher evaluation tool in a clinically rich program. Lessons learned, including the ways AMLE standards align with this tool, will be shared along with perspectives from a supervisor, collaborating teacher, and PST.

Maximizing Field Experiences in Middle Grades
Lina Soares, Amanda Wall
Field experiences in our Educator Preparation Program (EPP) have been re-envisioned and better aligned to young adolescent learners and middle level pedagogy to equip our teacher candidates with knowledge and skills to meet adolescents' needs (AMLE Standards 1c, 1d, 2, 3b, and 4). With emphasis on knowledge of young adolescent learners (AMLE 1) and content knowledge (AMLE 2), teacher candidates can implement responsive curriculum and demonstrate the depth and breadth of content knowledge.

Course to Course Dispositions Reflection
Claudia Brea Wickham
Cultivating mindfulness of professional dispositions in a Master or Arts in Teaching program

Time for Inquiry: Inquiry Does Not Necessarily Take More Time than Textbook-Based Instruction
Dr. Mark Templin
This session will present a signature science methods assignment that helps teacher education candidates understand that inquiry better meets teaching standards while not necessarily taking any additional time for instruction as compared to textbook-based instruction.

Sunday, November 5, 2017
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA


The Symposium is a special ticketed event of AMLE2017, the Annual Conference for Middle Level Education.

Tickets are $199, in addition to your AMLE2017 registration, and include access to all symposium sessions and lunch.

Register Online

Sunday, November 5, 2017
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA

Call for Presentations

We are interested in proposals that speak to the various experiences and knowledge base of middle grades teacher educators and that provide direction and ideas to those new to the field. The symposium welcomes submissions from university-based teacher educators, school-based teacher educators, policymakers, graduate students, and those engaged in the study and work of middle level teacher education. Session types include Research Presentations, Signature Assignment Sessions, and Poster Sessions.

Presentation applications must be received by April 10, 2017.
Applicants are notified via email of their selection status by May 15, 2017.

Completed Proposals